10 Practical Strategies to Secure Your Digital Life

10 Practical Strategies to Secure Your Digital Life

Is your cyber life secure? How do you know? Data security is critical more than ever before. If you’re not careful, you could end up victimized by any number of cyberattacks common in today’s world. If other people use your network, not protecting your network puts their devices and data at risk. Here are 10 strategies to help you secure your online life. 

1. Implement strong network security strategies

Whether you’re running a small business or fortune 100 company, you need network security. Network security protects your data from a plethora of breaches and attacks using hardware and software solutions.

2. Implement a zero-trust architecture strategy for your business

Zero-trust is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than grant employees and contractors access to your entire network, a zero-trust strategy grants access to company data as only when it’s necessary to do their job. A network security strategy typically includes controlled network access, antivirus software, application security, endpoint security, firewalls, and strong analytics. With most firewalls, threats are detected and blocked in real-time. Strong network security will protect your network from 
  • Viruses
  • Worms
  • Trojans
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Ransomware
Cyberattacks are constantly evolving and becoming more dangerous every minute. If you’re storing personal information from your customers, you need strong network protection to prevent that data from being stolen.

3. Use a VPN on private and public Wi-Fi networks

Your data is vulnerable when you connect to public Wi-Fi. A VPN won’t give you 100% protection. But it will stop most.  A VPN does a few main things: 
  1. Protects your identity
  2. Hides your location 
  3. Encrypts your internet traffic. 
Normally, your internet traffic is passed through your internet service provider’s (ISP). This gives your ISP access to all of your browsing information, which means they can hand it over to any other third party. When you’re on a public Wi-Fi network, it works the same way – the ISP receives your browsing history, along with anyone in on the network that’s set up to Monitor its traffic  When using a VPN, your browsing history is encrypted and therefore impossible to read. Since a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, you’ll be protected from the hackers that like to sit around at public wifi and hijack other people’s browsing sessions. If a hacker gets access to your computer through a public network, they could install a keystroke logger and get access to your bank account and just about anything you do from then on  
  1. Limit the amount of personal information you publish online
Each time you post personal information online, you’re making yourself more vulnerable. Cybercriminals use individual pieces of data to piece together a full profile of you. Then they use that information to commit crimes.  Posting bits of information may not seem as harmful as you post, but the cumulative effect of posting personal information over a period of time literally hands criminals the information to steal your identity. Some criminals use identities to open credit cards while others make fake ID cards to obtain loans. Some criminals use stolen identities to rack up utility bills when their own account has been shut off. There are a host of reasons why people steal personal data and the less information you publish, the better.

5. Shred every piece of mail you recycle or throw away

Cybercriminals don’t just look for information online. Sometimes they get information in the physical world by breaking into mailboxes and stealing trash. Yes, cybercriminals resort to stealing trash – and sometimes entire recycle bins – in an attempt to obtain personal data.

6. Never save your passwords in your browser

Most of the top browsers store your bookmarks and passwords in the cloud rather than on your local machine. This puts all of your login credentials at risk if your browser experiences a data breach. While you can use password management that stores your passwords using one main password, your login credentials aren’t entirely safe. If your password application is installed on your local machine it’s safer than in the cloud. However, if your device gets stolen and you haven’t logged out of your password manager, you’re extremely vulnerable.

7. Immediately lock your smart devices

Smart devices usually come with either no password or a factor-generated password printed in your device’s manual. Change You should also create a separate Wi-Fi network just for your IoT devices. If someone manages to hack into your device-only network, they won’t have access to your computer or other devices.

8. Mac users: turn AirDrop on/off for each use

For Mac users, it’s a good idea to turn AirDrop on and off for each use. You can set AirDrop to accept file transfers only from trusted devices, but that could be a problem if someone has already compromised your Mac to trust their device. The safest way to protect your Mac is to manually turn AirDrop on and off for each file transfer you perform. Additionally, if you’re not using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, turn those features off until you need them.

9. Train contractors you employ, no matter how small their task

Sometimes you just need to hire someone to upload files you don’t have time to manage, or you need someone to perform ten minutes of work on your website. Small tasks can still place you at risk for a cyberattack if the person performing those tasks doesn’t take precautions. Always train any contractors (and friends) you hire to do quick work for you online. Make sure they aren’t performing the work from unsecured public Wi-Fi and if they must, then make sure they use a VPN. Be assertive and require their agreement to not store your passwords in their browser. Last, always create a unique account for each contractor and delete or disable the account the moment they’re done with the work.

10. Back up your data regularly using immutable storage

If you fall victim to a ransomware attack, you’ll be glad to have a backup of your data. Instead of paying a ransom and hoping the criminal decrypts your data (most of the time they don’t), you can simply restore your data from a healthy backup.

How Technology Enables Small Business to Transform and Innovate

How Technology Enables Small Business to Transform and Innovate

This week will kick off our biggest customer event of the year: Cisco Live 2020, and this year the event is going digital. We have a lot of great content planned for small business customers, and one session I would like to call out in particular is our Small Business Innovation Talk. During this session, we will discuss the latest solutions and products we are announcing. But the part I am most excited about is the panel featuring two small businesses from two completely different industries: Matternet Inc., a drone technology company, and Lamark Media, a creative marketing agency. Both offer stories of innovation and transformation, and both identified white spaces in their respective industries that needed addressing and found an innovative way to solve for it.

Matternet uses drone technology to make access to critical goods more efficient.

Matternet’s mission is to make access to goods as simple, universal, and frictionless as access to information. Their products enable organizations around the world to build and operate drone logistics networks for transporting goods on demand, through the air, in a fraction of the time, cost, and energy of any other transportation method used today. Matternet, with its drone technology and logistics, provides fast access to critical, life-saving drugs and diagnostics in rural and suburban areas in a manner that is four times more efficient than a road-based courier service. Matternet is equally impactful in urban environments with overloaded infrastructure.

4 NEXT-LEVEL REASONS TO PARTNER WITH AN MSP

Blue-Tac-it-enineers-in-network-server-room

4 NEXT-LEVEL REASONS TO PARTNER WITH AN MSP

Blue-Tac-it-enineers-in-network-server-room

Sure, you might “get by” with that one employee who sort of knows IT.

But at the end of the day, “that one employee” will never have what it takes to replace a full-blown IT department or MSP (managed service provider).

The technology your business relies on has come a long way, and it’s far too sophisticated for one person to successfully manage. And here are four big reasons why.

BOB FROM ACCOUNTING CAN’T PROVIDE IT STRATEGY.

That’s right. Bob might be able to get the printer to work, and he might know his way around your PC’s control panel. But that doesn’t mean he can build a custom IT strategy and roadmap for your business. Or … maybe he can. But it probably won’t keep your technology scalable, cost-efficient, and user-friendly.

That’s why an MSP is invaluable. A managed service provider keeps people on staff that build, implement, and manage IT strategies all day long.

SUE FROM HR CAN’T ANALYZE YOUR ENTIRE INFRASTRUCTURE.

Most people don’t even know what questions to ask when it comes to their IT — let alone analyze and assess their entire infrastructure. And we’re willing to bet that Sue from HR can’t do this either.

 

An MSP (and Sue, for that matter) can’t provide you with the best IT support if they don’t know what’s actually going on inside your infrastructure. Because of this, MSPs regularly analyze and assess your technology to fully understand it from the inside-out. This way, they can provide your company with best-fit technology solutions and quality advice and consulting.

 

RICK FROM MARKETING DOESN’T HAVE TIME TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS.

Sorry to break it to you, but Rick already has a lot going on. So does Sue, and so does Bob.

Unless that person’s full-time job is IT support, you can’t expect anyone person at your company to successfully deliver the quality and quantity of IT support your team needs to stay productive. Especially if you’re comparing that level of support to a managed service provider.

An MSP leverages a full team of IT experts and certified network engineers to support your team and its technology 24/7. And with features like remote IT support and automatic updates, actual IT issues become few and far between.

BECKY FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE CAN’T KEEP YOU MODERN.

The majority of SMBs won’t ever reach their full potential. And it’s not because they can’t. And it’s certainly not because they don’t want to.

It’s because they don’t know-how. Or better put, they don’t know what technology they need to reach that potential.

Instead of partnering with an MSP, they rely on Becky with the good pens to keep them up-to-date on security trends, software solutions, and hardware upgrades.

All the Google searches can never replace the type of solutions and quality advice an MSP can bring to your business. MSPs do nothing but work with technology all day. They know it better than most anyone. And they certainly know it better than Becky does (at least, we’re willing to bet they do).

by sszot

Switches

Our switches are constantly learning, constantly adapting, constantly protecting. Build a foundation for extraordinary outcomes in your data center, core, or edge. This is the new era in intent-based networking.

 

Are you Ready?

Are you Ready?

Change can be overwhelming, but it’s also an awesome opportunity to innovate, problem-solve, and embrace a new way of doing things. Here at Cisco, we’re excited by the opportunity to adopt a bright new future of work! This is your chance to address digital gaps, optimize your solutions, practices, and processes, and future-proof your organization for the many changes that are sure to come in the future. Build a resilient company now, so you’re prepared for whatever the future brings, especially in the next normal.
Don’t worry, though, our guide offers practical insights and use cases to help inform, inspire, and fully realize your workplace transformation. We’ll help get your business ready for the future and beyond. Are you ready for the evolution of work? Let’s get started!

Download our guide, “Paving the way to the next normal”

Cybersecurity

Cisco Makes Economic Case for Cybersecurity

SMBs Cybersecurity Risk, Their Opportunity
by Paul Barbosa

Cisco Systems this week is making generally available Cisco SecureX, a free management console through which cybersecurity teams can manage the entire Cisco cybersecurity portfolio, including a suite of Cisco Secure Remote Worker software for establishing virtual private networks (VPN).

Exacerbating that challenge further is the fact that in the current economic climate many organizations are being tasked to reduce the total cost of IT, which includes security. Cisco is addressing that requirement by increasingly embedding cybersecurity functions such as multifactor authentication within networking and server infrastructure, said Maynard. That approach, which Cisco has also extended to cloud services such as Microsoft Office 365, enables IT organizations to converge security and IT infrastructure management in a way that drives down costs, he noted.

Cisco SecureX advances that goal further by enabling IT organizations to monitor cybersecurity events via a centralized security operations center (SOC), Maynard said. In addition, he noted Cisco provides access to threat intelligence via its Talos service that feeds directly into Cisco Secure X.

Via Cisco Secure X, a cybersecurity team can then employ all the capabilities provided by Cisco to isolate endpoints, which Maynard said also serves to eliminate the need for dedicated endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools.